Northlanders prepare for a weekend without power

By Mike Dinsdale

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Northlanders are being warned to prepare for a weekend without power with more high winds and heavy rain forecast for the next 24 hours.

As of 8.15am today Northpower had 550 properties without power across Whangarei and Dargaville while Top Energy said about 3,600 Far North households remain without power, down from 6,400 at 4pm yesterday. Most of these are in the north of the region, supplied from Kaitaia.

But the MetService is forecasting winds of up to 100km/h and up to 100 mm of rainfall across the region as the storm that has brought widespread destruction since Tuesday sticks around.

Northpower spokesman Steve MacMillan said the company still has more than 100 people out on the ground fixing faults, but if gale force winds whip up more lines could be brought down.

Mr MacMillan said people should prepare for a weekend without power if the foul weather continued.

"The ground is just sodden out there and weakening tree root systems. More high winds could topple more trees or branches and bring down more lines."

Some residents in parts of Northland have been without power for several days.

Mr MacMillan could not say if the numbers potentially without electricity over the weekend would be hundreds or thousands. At it's height the storm led to about 20,000 properties cut off.

"We hope it doesn't happen (that thousands are without power) but we need people to get prepared for a weekend without power," he said.

Anybody without power or who sees a line down should ring Northpower number on 0800 104040 or Top Energy on 0800-TOPENERGY/0800-867363.

Mr MacMillan said anybody who sees a downed power line should not touch it as it could be live and potentially deadly.

- Northern Advocate

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